How Can Small Businesses Prepare For The “New Normal”?
The recent Covid-19 pandemic has decimated small businesses. If you are among the enterprises that did survive, you will need to ramp up your digital marketing efforts on a new normal.
The 2020 lockdown is probably not the last we will have to endure!
For small businesses to survive future lockdowns, you need to act now. Learn the lessons from this lockdown, observe consumer behavior and communicate with your customers in different ways.
The ongoing social distancing rules will create a “new normal” that could further damage the revenues of physical stores. Online shopping is expected to increase significantly.
Understandably, many enterprises are reassessing their digital marketing budgets. Whilst SEO and social will be the primary targets, SMS marketing should be a consideration as well.
It expected that consumers will stay loyal to brands that give them confidence. Shoppers are also being advised to stick with local stores.
This new normal gives pandemic survivors a prime opportunity to build your consumer base.
The first strategy to concentrate on is building brand awareness. This can be difficult to do in a crowded online forum. It can take six to 12 months to rank on page #1 of Google and social media platforms throttle the number of people your posts reach.
SMS, on the other hand, gives you numerous benefits.
Check out these SMS statistics:
- 98% of text messages are opened
- SMS has a 7 times higher response rate than email
- And 209% higher response rate than Facebook
- Engagement rates are higher with SMS
- Consumers want to speak with human, not robots (robots cannot send SMS)
The reason why texting is more powerful than other channels of communication is because of its directness. Quite simply, people are more likely to take notice of an SMS.
Form Bonds, Build Trust
A recent report published by Forrester suggests consumer data reveals consumers feel fragmented and disconnected and do not trust businesses to do the right thing.
The Edelman’s Trust barometer also reveals the consumer trust in corporate, government and media is at an all-time low.
This tipping point is an opportunity for small businesses to show your customers you care about their wellbeing and that you are there to help them overcome pain points.
SMS is highly versatile. It can be used to enhance customer services, build customers loyalty and earn trust.
During the recent lockdown, we saw how many service providers moved into the online space. Businesses such as gyms, yoga studios and Zumba classes organised online classes.
This type of creative thinking can be announced far more easily if you have a bulk SMS service to inform you customers when you will be staging events.
Post-pandemic rules for shoppers is not to touch anything. The exchange of money will slowly be phased out, but until digital payments come into effect, consumers need convenient ways to pay.
Mobile coupons have been increasing in popularity for several years. According to BigCommerce, 90% of shoppers use mobile coupons. A pre-pandemic forecast was that $90 billion would be redeemed in digital coupons by 2022.
That figure could actually be much higher now.
Coupons naturally work because they provide savvy shoppers with the opportunity to maximise their savings on discounts. In a cashless society, coupons fill a gap that is not already in place for conducting shopping transactions.
You can use SMS marketing tools to distribute bulk mobile coupons and encourage your customers to spend.
Stay Connected with Consumers
It’s difficult to predict what the shopping landscape will look like in a post-pandemic world. Consumers that are in need of certain items may not know where they can find them.
SMS, therefore, becomes an important channel of communication that invites a two-way conversation. And most consumers want to be able to contact brands to ask if they have the item they need.
Moreover, consumers prefer to communicate with brands via SMS over other forms of communication.
Business owners can use texting to your advantage. Inform your customers when you new stock is available, when products are running low and which lines you will no longer be carrying.
You can even send out questionnaires and get feedback from your customers to determine what they want to be able to purchase from you.
In the post-pandemic world, more businesses will rely on SMS messaging services to accepting orders, provide information and conduct customers services.
The more trust you build with local customers, the more successful your business will be on a new normal.